Samie Lim, the Franchising King

Samie Lim (center), the franchising king

I vividly recall a conversation 25 years ago, when Samie Lim eagerly introduced me to the concept of franchising. His group had secured the rights to represent US-based Francorp in the Philippines, enabling them to offer consulting services related to franchising. Their aim was to assist businesses in harnessing the power of the franchising business model for expansion. With this vision, Samie Lim and his team were poised to revolutionize the retail industry, empowering small businesses to grow rapidly through the franchise model.

Let us transport ourselves back to 1998, a year marred by the lingering effects of the Asian Financial Crisis, which left numerous businesses desperate for a lifeline. Against this turbulent backdrop, Samie Lim and his pioneering team embarked on a mission to educate the retail market about the remarkable potential offered by franchising. No longer would business owners be burdened by the challenges of constructing company-owned stores, investing their own capital, or assembling an entire workforce. Instead, they could leverage the formidable advantages of the franchise system to achieve exponential growth with a higher likelihood of success, thereby leveling the playing field against larger, more established players.

Of course, certain prerequisites exist: a recognizable brand, committed and credible owners, a customer base interested in franchising, a well-documented and replicable proven system, and ongoing management support, including training and supervision.

Fast forward 25 years, and I found myself attending the Francorp awards ceremony, where clients were inducted into various recognition levels based on the number of stores they had established: 50, 100, and 500. Notable members of the prestigious 500 Club included Andoks, Grainsmart, Turk Shawarma, and Shawarma Shack. Furthermore, they acknowledged clients like Island Tea, Tapa King, and Kerimo for successfully expanding into international markets.

Allow me to share the speech delivered by Samie Lim, Executive Chairman of Francorp Philippines and Chairman Emeritus of the Philippine Franchising Association. In his address, he eloquently outlined their growth journey throughout the years


Speech of Samie Lim on the 25th Anniversary celebration of Francorp Philippines on June 7, 2023.

“As we celebrate.the 25th anniversary of Francorp, I thank God for the many blessings that he bestowed on us during the founding years.

When we started, most people knew very little about franchising. Being very active in the retail industry, Bing (Limjoco) , Manny (Siggaoat) and I were challenged by the fact  that franchising is the fastest way to expand your retail business.

To learn more about franchising, we searched for franchise consultant companies in Us, Europe, and even Asia. We were told that it was a US consultant that helped start the Jollibee franchise. 

That was Don Boraian of Francorp, the most respected, one stop, full franchise consultancy firm in the United States. We signed a contract with Francorp USA in 1996 and Extensive Training began in their Chicago HQ until we imbibed the expertise and culture of Francorp USA, before we started the Phil operation. 

By 1997, we were able to convince a few clients by aggressively promoting the concept of franchising in many business forums and by offering a consulting fee at 70% less than what they have to pay, if they were to contract the US office to do it for them .

Our first clients were Padi’s Point Bar and Grill and Candy’s Corner. 

When we transferred to Jollibee Plaza in 1998, we offered a 10 months installment plan for franchise development programs. Many aggressive start up clients like Crystal Clear, David Salon, Bench started to signed up, and have now become iconic brands. 

By 2000, Francorp Philippines conducted Franchise Your Business (FYBS) monthly to educate potential clients on how to franchise their business. As the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) hosted the first ever Philippine International Franchise Conference and Exposition (PIFCE) in 2001, Francorp clients such as Pancake House, Plains and Prints, and Bo’s Coffee were able to maximize their participation in this expo to launch their franchise programs.

Our First Wave of clients, adopted franchising because they wanted to expand to 25-50 branches. And true enough, this was what happened to Reyes Haircutters, Islands Souvenirs, Unica Hija, Potato Corner, Folded & Hung, and PR Gaz engaged us sometime 2002. 

Starting 2004, More successful concepts signed up with us, namely, Hap Chan House, Motech, Celine, Kitaro, and Fruit Magic, Bayo, K2 Drug, Plains and Prints, Periwinkle, HBC, Waffle Time, Dimsum Break, C2 and Cordillera Coffee. 

Because of our record of successes, by our tenth year, we were working with clients on plans to develop the blueprints of a network of 100-500 stores. (Clients include) Penshoppe, 3M Pizza, Tokyo Tokyo, Goodah, Golden Cowrie, and. Forever Flawless. 

By 2007, we reached our 200 client-mark.

By  2008, we were utilizing the Philippine International Franchise Conference and Exposition as a platform for our clients to more efficiently launch their franchise program both nationally and internationally. 

As my colleagues will present next, you wil see a crescendo of even more exciting and innovative developments in our organization and our role in moving the industry upwards to the next level, and in cementing the Philippine as the Franchise Hub of Asia. 

But More importantly, please listen to the franchise stories of those who will be recognized tonight and be inspired by their franchise journeys. So that together we can continue to create thousands more of MSMEs and Millions of jobs.”


Josiah Go is chair and chief innovation strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc. He is the author of the Mansmith Franchise Diamond Model (How Franchising Works) which can be found in You Tube.

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Josiah Go features the movers and shakers of the business world and writes about marketing, strategy, innovation, execution and entrepreneurship


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